The Energy Frontier Research Center (EFRC) program is focused on the scientific groundwork needed to meet the global need for abundant, clean, and economical energy. Under the direction of Professor Robert Blankenship, the Lucille P. Markey Distinguished Professor of Arts and Sciences, Departments of Biology and Chemistry, Washington University (WUSTL) received an EFRC award effective August 1, 2009.
To address the purpose of the EFRC initiative, WUSTL created the Photosynthetic Antenna Research Center (PARC). PARC brings together a core group of WUSTL researchers along with several other select scientists from academia, private research institutes, and national laboratories to produce an international interdisciplinary team.
PARC aspires to maximize photosynthetic antenna efficiency in living organisms and to fabricate robust micron-scale biohybrid light-harvesting systems to drive chemical processes or generate photocurrent. This vision will be achieved through transformational research to optimize antenna size and composition for natural photosynthetic function and to develop versatile synthetic macromolecular solar-collectors that can be tailored for specific applications. PARC’s research and educational activities will build a legacy of intellectual and technical capacity for harvesting solar energy for the future (read more about PARC’s vision).
This will be accomplished using structural techniques such as neutron scattering and diffraction at the Spallation Neutron Source and the High Flux Isotope Reactor at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and advanced microscopy at the Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies (CINT) at Los Alamos and Sandia National Laboratories. PARC includes collaborations with scientists at three national laboratories and several U.S. and U.K. universities (see PARC’s member institutions).